Troy Athens wrestling under new leadership

By: Christian Davis | Troy Times | Published January 12, 2016


BEVERLY HILLS — It’s a simple formula — one that new Troy Athens coach wrestling Matt Rawlik believes in.

“I really just want the kids to wrestle hard for six minutes. That’s what I was taught when I wrestled. To me, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “A lot of it is just putting in the effort.”

     Rawlik has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the program. He’s also coached football at the school for four years.

      “I’ve really enjoyed taking over the program and working with the kids,” he said.

      At press time, the Red Hawks were 4-7 overall and 1-1 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

      In its first divisional meet Jan. 6 at Birmingham Groves, Athens tied the host team 37-37, but lost on the ninth tiebreaker, which looked at whichever team scored the most first-period points.

      “It’s kind of a gut punch. You’re essentially tied,” Rawlik said after the loss, noting that his team lost to Groves by a larger margin earlier in the season in a nonconference match. “I’m just happy that we wrestled them more competitively than the first time. … We’re coming along and getting better. That’s what matters.”

      Athens rebounded later that night, beating North Farmington 42-33.

      Seniors Robby Keyes and John Staron lead the Red Hawks. Earlier this season, both earned their 100th career victories and were state qualifiers last season.

      Staron is out with an injury, and Rawlik said it was still uncertain whether he’d be able to return by the postseason. If he does return, Rawlik said, he’s sure to make his way back to the state finals.

      As for Keyes, Rawlik believes he’s on pace to be a state placer.

      “He has high expectations for himself. He expects to go out and dominate; he’s not satisfied with getting a decision,” Rawlik said. “That’s the mentality that he brings to practice too. I really think that’s what separates him from other wrestlers — he wants to make a statement.”